Lex Ishimoto on coming Down Under: ‘The Aussie dance scene excites me’

Lex Ishimoto. Photo by Rob Daly.
Lex Ishimoto. Photo by Rob Daly.

Lex Ishimoto, winner of So You Think You Can Dance USA, Season 14, is coming to Australia this month! His trip is part of the Joffrey Ballet School’s masterclass audition tour for its popular summer intensive programs held in June-August each year across America. Ishimoto will lead masterclass auditions, as will sought-after Broadway performer and choreographer Matthew Prescott, in Adelaide, Melbourne, Gold Coast and Sydney, from 19 – 22 October. 

Dance Informa recently caught up with Ishimoto about the upcoming Australia auditions, what he thinks of Aussie dancers and what he’s most looking forward to during his first stay Down Under. 


What are you excited to see and do in Australia? 

“I am more than excited to come to Australia! I have never been but have been wanting to for so long. Each time I visit a new country – the culture, the energy, I just want to take everything in.”

Lex Ishimoto. Photo by Lee Gumbs Photography.

Lex Ishimoto. Photo by Lee Gumbs Photography.

What classes will you be teaching? 

“I will be teaching the contemporary and hip hop rounds for the Joffrey Ballet School auditions and hopefully teach at some local dance studios. The audition classes will take a span over four days, each day being different cities starting from the Gold Coast, Melbourne, Sydney and, finally, Adelaide.”

What can people expect from your masterclasses?

“My movement is a cultivation of all the different styles I have learned and curated over my years as a dancer. The space and energy of the class is focused on the knowledge of the specific genre, a safe environment and of course the experience of finding new ways of movement.”

What do you hope people get out of your masterclasses?

“The dance scene is quickly evolving in a rapid state. I believe that it’s important for students to know the roots, foundation and intention of our craft while also catching up to the present algorithm – where we start to mix and match the different elements and styles together to evolve.”

Why do you think Joffrey Ballet School is a great school and learning experience for dancers? 

“I believe Joffrey Ballet School is wonderful because it also puts in the effort to preserve other styles outside of ballet as well. While I’m a firm believer that ballet is the center core of our foundation, I think it’s just as important to widen our views toward other styles as well.”

What do you think is exciting about the Australian dance scene and Australian dancers?

“The Aussie dance scene excites me because the dancers are so powerful and strong. There’s never a dull moment in the culture, and the students seem very hungry to learn. That’s not something you can really teach, and it really does make choreographers and dancers like me to fully dive into the community.”

Lex Ishimoto. Photo by Simply Bella Photography.

Lex Ishimoto. Photo by Simply Bella Photography.

What’s next for you after this trip ‘down under’? 

“I’m glad I found time to come to Australia. It’s about time, too. Every time I come into a new space, I find myself inspired more than ever. It changes my way of thinking, my way of dancing of course, and just visiting will shift my road in life to another path in a positive way.”

What do you hope to accomplish during your upcoming trip to Australia or your masterclasses? 

“I’ve heard that the Aussie dance scene is small but mighty. How the community energy draws in people from all around the world amazes me so much. If I can help spread my knowledge to the dancers, I’ll be happy. If I can learn and bring back that energy to share with others, I’ll be even happier. Looking forward to meeting and exchanging with you all.”

In addition to auditioning for its summer programs, the Joffrey Ballet School will also be looking for dancers for its prestigious trainee programs. Places will be offered in Ballet, Jazz and Contemporary, Musical Theatre, and Hip Hop. Dance Informa’s Editor will be on the tour with Lex and will be awarding Joffrey Ballet School scholarships to dancers of exceptional talent and dedication. Spots in the Australia masterclass auditions are limited, so be sure to pre-register to secure your place: summer.joffreyballetschool.com/international-auditions.

By Laura Di Orio of Dance Informa.

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